#1 UVa. looking to ignite another long postseason run
Story by Chris Graham
#1 Virginia enters the 2010 postseason in a vastly different place than it entered the 2009 postseason.
The ’09 Cavs had apparently played their way out of the strong postseason run that had seemed to be in the cards with the hot start and a top-10 national ranking most of the season with struggles down the stretch in ACC play. Then came their magical run through the ACC Tournament in Greensboro toward the ACC title, the upset feelings over being shipped out west to play at #1 Cal-Irvine, the win out there, the thrilling comeback in the Super Regionals at Ole Miss, and the program’s first College World Series appearance.
The ’10 Cavs enter the postseason having won 16 of their last 17, including two of three at #14 Miami, which entered the weekend with a 17-game home winning streak. UVa. is heading back to Greensboro not so much having something to prove, as last year’s team did, as trying to keep building on the foundation of success that dates back to this time last year.
“We’ve played good, consistent baseball all year long, and haven’t stubbed our toe all year. Hopefully we can continue to play that kind of baseball,” O’Connor told reporters on a conference call Monday morning.
Virginia (45-10, 23-7 ACC) will be the top seed in this week’s ACC Tournament. The ‘Hoos will play eighth-seeded Boston College (29-26, 14-16 ACC) at noon Wednesday in their tournament opener. Pool play continues on Thursday at 4 p.m. with a game against fifth-seeded Florida State (39-16, 18-12 ACC) and concludes on Saturday with a game against fourth-seeded Miami (39-15, 20-10 ACC).
The team with the best record in the four-team pool will play the winner of the pool featuring second-seeded Clemson (37-19, 18-12 ACC), third seed Georgia Tech (44-11, 21-9 ACC), sixth seed Virginia Tech (36-19, 16-14 ACC) and seventh seed N.C. State (36-20, 15-15 ACC) on Sunday.
O’Connor has set his rotation for the opening three games of the tournament. Cody Winiarski (5-0, 4.23 ERA) gets the nod for the Boston College game after pitching out of the pen in the Miami series. Robert Morrey (9-2, 3.14 ERA) will get the call against FSU on Thursday, and ace Danny Hultzen (8-1, 2.08 ERA) will go on Saturday against the Hurricanes.
Branden Kline (4-0, 3.06 ERA), who looked good in his first career ACC start, giving up two runs in five innings en route to a no-decision in a 5-4 extra-inning loss against Miami on Thursday, would ostensibly be available for the start in the ACC title game on Sunday should the Cavs get that far.
O’Connor wants to see his team there.
“We’re proud that we won the regular season, but what the ACC considers as its true champion is the conference-tournament winner. Obviously we’re going down to Greensboro to try to win another conference championship,” O’Connor said.